October 07, 2022

Drive from Cincinnati to These 20 Campsites That Are Stunning in the Fall

The leaves, they are a-changin'. The Tri-State region is one of the prettiest in the country for gazing at fall's gorgeous colors, and the experience is even better when you're camping right among the trees themselves. Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful camping destinations within four hours of Cincinnati, where waterfalls, hiking trails, beaches and mountain views reign supreme. Pack up the tent and grab the s'more supplies, because it's time for a road trip.
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Salt Fork State Park
14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, Ohio 
Distance: About 3 hours 
With 17,229 acres of recreational land, this magnificent state park is Ohio's largest. The diverse landscape includes forested hills, open meadows, winding streams and misty valleys. Boating, fishing, swimming and trails are available, as well as an archery range, dog park and golf course. Visitors can also check out the historic Kennedy Stone House, built in 1837 using stones from a nearby quarry.
Photo: Facebook.com/SaltForkStatePark

Salt Fork State Park


14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, Ohio
Distance: About 3 hours
With 17,229 acres of recreational land, this magnificent state park is Ohio's largest. The diverse landscape includes forested hills, open meadows, winding streams and misty valleys. Boating, fishing, swimming and trails are available, as well as an archery range, dog park and golf course. Visitors can also check out the historic Kennedy Stone House, built in 1837 using stones from a nearby quarry.
Big Bone Lick State Park
3380 Beaver Road, Union, Kentucky 
Distance: About 30 minutes 
This historic park is named after the gigantic Ice Age mammal bones discovered there, and includes a museum that displays the bones, Ordovician fossils, Native American artifacts and more. The park is also home to a herd of bison, a reminder of a time centuries ago when wild bison roamed the state. Other activities include hiking, orienteering and mini golf.
Photo: Facebook.com/BigBoneLickSHS

Big Bone Lick State Park


3380 Beaver Road, Union, Kentucky
Distance: About 30 minutes
This historic park is named after the gigantic Ice Age mammal bones discovered there, and includes a museum that displays the bones, Ordovician fossils, Native American artifacts and more. The park is also home to a herd of bison, a reminder of a time centuries ago when wild bison roamed the state. Other activities include hiking, orienteering and mini golf.
Clifty Falls State Park
2221 Clifty Drive, Madison, Indiana 
Distance: About 1 hour 30 minutes 
The park's namesake waterfalls are a great reason to come back again and again, as their appearance changes with the seasons. Clifty Canyon offers great scenery and hiking, and the Clifty Creek bed is full of fossils of ancient sea creatures. Visitors can also check out the nearby Lanier State Historic Site, the former mansion of James F.D. Lanier, a frontier banker.
Photo: Facebook.com/CliftyFallsSP

Clifty Falls State Park


2221 Clifty Drive, Madison, Indiana
Distance: About 1 hour 30 minutes
The park's namesake waterfalls are a great reason to come back again and again, as their appearance changes with the seasons. Clifty Canyon offers great scenery and hiking, and the Clifty Creek bed is full of fossils of ancient sea creatures. Visitors can also check out the nearby Lanier State Historic Site, the former mansion of James F.D. Lanier, a frontier banker.
Mary Jane Thurston State Park
1466 State Route 65, McClure, Ohio 
Distance: About 3 hours 
This park borders the Maumee River, which includes an old canal history buffs can explore. It also offers some of the best stream fishing in the state, as well as good waters for boating. Those looking to stay or host events during the day can rent a circa 1936 lodge.
Photo: Facebook.com/MaryJaneThurstonStatePark

Mary Jane Thurston State Park


1466 State Route 65, McClure, Ohio
Distance: About 3 hours
This park borders the Maumee River, which includes an old canal history buffs can explore. It also offers some of the best stream fishing in the state, as well as good waters for boating. Those looking to stay or host events during the day can rent a circa 1936 lodge.
Mohican State Park
3116 State Route 3, Loudonville, Ohio 
Distance: About 3 and a half hours 
This 1,110-acre park borders a 4,525-acre state forest, where visitors can wander through a hemlock grove to enjoy the beautiful views offered by Clear Fork Gorge. There are 25 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as fishing and boating on the Clear Fork River, Wolf Creek and Pleasant Hill Lake. The area is known as the Canoe Capital of Ohio.
Photo: Facebook.com/MohicanStatePark

Mohican State Park


3116 State Route 3, Loudonville, Ohio
Distance: About 3 and a half hours
This 1,110-acre park borders a 4,525-acre state forest, where visitors can wander through a hemlock grove to enjoy the beautiful views offered by Clear Fork Gorge. There are 25 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as fishing and boating on the Clear Fork River, Wolf Creek and Pleasant Hill Lake. The area is known as the Canoe Capital of Ohio.
A.W. Marion State Park
7317 Warner-Huffer Rd, Circleville, Ohio 
Distance: About 2 hours 
This serene park includes the 145-acre Hargus Lake, with boats available for rental and several swimming areas (including one for dogs). The lake is also stocked with a variety of fish.
Photo: A.W. Marion State Park Facebook page

A.W. Marion State Park


7317 Warner-Huffer Rd, Circleville, Ohio
Distance: About 2 hours
This serene park includes the 145-acre Hargus Lake, with boats available for rental and several swimming areas (including one for dogs). The lake is also stocked with a variety of fish.
Hueston Woods State Park
6301 Park Office Rd, College Corner, Ohio 
Distance: About 1 hour 
This park surrounds Acton Lake, where visitors can fish and canoe. Its almost 3,000 acres of recreation land also include hiking and fossil hunting sites. Other amenities include an archery range, dog park, disc golf course and other sports facilities.
Photo: Facebook.com/HuestonWoodsStatePark

Hueston Woods State Park


6301 Park Office Rd, College Corner, Ohio
Distance: About 1 hour
This park surrounds Acton Lake, where visitors can fish and canoe. Its almost 3,000 acres of recreation land also include hiking and fossil hunting sites. Other amenities include an archery range, dog park, disc golf course and other sports facilities.
Hocking Hills State Park
19852 State Route 664 S., Logan, Ohio 
Distance: About 2 hours 30 minutes 
This park includes stunning cliffs, waterfalls and hemlock-shaded gorges. There are many biking and hiking trails for exploring the park's natural beauty, as well as a 17-acre lake where you can boat and fish.
Photo: Catie Viox

Hocking Hills State Park


19852 State Route 664 S., Logan, Ohio
Distance: About 2 hours 30 minutes
This park includes stunning cliffs, waterfalls and hemlock-shaded gorges. There are many biking and hiking trails for exploring the park's natural beauty, as well as a 17-acre lake where you can boat and fish.
John Bryan State Park
3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs, Ohio 
Distance: About 1 hour 30 minutes 
This park features a limestone gorge created by the Little Miami River, a portion of which is a national natural landmark. It also includes boating, fishing, rock climbing, disc golf and hiking and biking trails.
Photo: Friends of John Bryan State Park Facebook page

John Bryan State Park


3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs, Ohio
Distance: About 1 hour 30 minutes
This park features a limestone gorge created by the Little Miami River, a portion of which is a national natural landmark. It also includes boating, fishing, rock climbing, disc golf and hiking and biking trails.
Mammoth Cave National Park
1 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky 
Distance: About 3 hours 
This national park highlights the world's longest known cave system, over 400 miles long. The huge chambers and intricate underground labyrinths led early guide Stephen Bishop to describe it as "a grand, gloomy and peculiar place." In addition to the cave tours, there are also trails and rivers for fishing and boating.
Photo: Facebook.com/MammothCaveNPS

Mammoth Cave National Park


1 Mammoth Cave Parkway, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
Distance: About 3 hours
This national park highlights the world's longest known cave system, over 400 miles long. The huge chambers and intricate underground labyrinths led early guide Stephen Bishop to describe it as "a grand, gloomy and peculiar place." In addition to the cave tours, there are also trails and rivers for fishing and boating.